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ushered into the world, " An Experiment in Educa1 tion, made at the Male Asylum at Madras: suggesting a SYSTEM by which a School or Family may TEACH ITSELF under the superintendence of the Master or Parent. London. 1797." And in the body of the Report the System is recommended to "every charity or free school,...and to the generality of public schools and academies." The effect will be manifest from two short quotations. "The school is thus rendered a scene of amusement to the scholars, and a spectacle of delight to the beholder.....The System....calculated to promote their welfare, to advance their learning, and to preclude punishment,”. "For months together it has not been found necessary to inflict a single punishment."
For the economy-and annual saving of £960. sterling, and the Superintendent's salary for 7 years £3366., I must refer to the work itself. Exp. p. 29, 30, 31, 32, 34. El. p. 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52.
From this record of the Madi as Asylum, manuals for schools in general, and especially for charity schools, with such details and illustrations as seemed fitted to apply what was done in India to the state of things in this country, were prepared and published in 1805, 1807, 1808, and 1813.
For the use of the schools of the National Society, and for the guidance of all those who may be desirous of conducting education on the Madras principle, which is adapted in a peculiar manner to large schools, for the lower orders of youth; but may be applied to any family or academy: and according to the practices of the Madras School, which are alike fitted for private tuition and schools of every description, this fourth edition of Instructions is chiefly. compiled from the latest of these compositions -Exp. p. 17. El. p. 32.
Exp. p. 35. El. p. 53.
Elements of Tuition, part 2, the English Schoola work which comprises the rise, progress, history, and bearings of this invention.
It need only be here noticed that by the ready, expeditious and cheap means, which it furnishes of training up the inferior orders of Society in moral and religious principles, and in habits of useful Industry, it is fitted to raise them above the mean and low vices, which besot and debase the ignorant vulgar-above the savage and barbarous crimes, which disgrace and degrade dark and unenlightened ages; and by forming, through a Christian education, an intelligent, industrious and virtuous people, to give to the empire new strength, stability, and glory.
Thus to add to the sum of human virtue, individual happiness, and, by consequence, national strength and prosperity, His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, in the name and behalf of his Majesty, and as the best proof of the Sovereign's paternal solicitude for the Army, has given his sanction to the orders of His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief, that all the children of the soldiers be educated in these principles, and on this System*.
So high and commanding a precedent can scarcely fail to lead the Legislature to extend this boon to all the children of the great body of the people. Already indeed, under the patronage of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, every thing is doing with this view, which can be done, short of Legislative measures, by the National Society; and by Diocesan and other Societies throughout the Kingdom.
Founded on these principles, direeted to such ends, and conducted through such means, is the Madras School, of which the key-stone is the following scheme.
See "Instructions for establishing and conducting Regimental Schools upon the Rev. Dr. Bell's System, as adopted at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea. London, printed by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court, Strand. 1811."
Of the Madras System of Education. "Ut illi (pueri) efferuntur lætitia cum vicerint? Ut pudet victos? Ut se accusari nolunt ? quam cupiunt laudari? quos illi labores non perferunt, ut æqualium principes sint?" Cic.
Scheme of a School on the Model of the Madras Asylum.
1st. The Asylum, like every well-regulated school, is arranged into Forms or Classes; each composed of as many scholars as have made a similar progress.
The scholar ever finds his own level, not only in his class, but also in the ranks of the school, being promoted or degraded from place to place, or class to class, according to his relative proficiency.
By this classification, which, though neither new nor peculiar to the Madras School, is yet carried to a greater length there than in any other school I have seen, cher or master has no more trouble, nay has less trouble, in the tuition of a whole class than of a single scholar; and that emulation or desire of excellence, which the Creator has implanted in the human breast for the wisest and noblest purposes, is thus called forth, and proves a powerful and unceasing incentive to laudable exertiona mild, yet effectual instrument of dicipline.
When a class says a lesson or performs any operation or task, the scholar, who prompts another, or tells him what he mistakes, takes the place in the class above him he prompted, and all those between them: and he who excels in writing or other exercises, takes precedence of all who are inferior to him.
When a boy appears to be inattentive, he is suddenly called upon to proceed, in whatever part of the class he may be; and, if he hesitates, he loses his place. If at any time a scholar is negligent he forfeits a place; but if he fails grossly, or misbehaves, he is turned down to the bottom, or left of his class.
When the scholar does not read audibly and distinctly, as often happens in the out-set; or pronounces badly,
or makes any of those mistakes, which generally require a length of time to correct, each of the scholars under him who reads audibly, &c. takes his place till he either corrects himself, or sinks below all who prompt him. By this simple and inoffensive process, he will soon correct himself of any failing without further trouble on the part of the master, that he may regain his lost honours, and recover his due station. This is a cheap corrective of such faults as otherwise often prove of long standing, far more effectual than corporal punishment.
When a boy has held a high rank in his class for some time, he may be made an assistant teacher of that class; but when this is not eligible, he has the option of being advanced to a superior class, where he is placed at the foot; and if, in a few days, he rises near the middle, he maintains a permanent footing in this class; if not, he must revert to his original class. The boy also, who fails, for some time, in saying his daily lessons well, is degraded to an inferior class, where he is placed at the head; and if he sink to its level, he forfeits his former class, and remains with the new one as long as he is on a footing of equality with them but if he maintain a high rank, he is allowed to resume his original class on a new trial; when it often happens that, by redoubled exertion, he can now keep pace with them.
By these means, no class is ever retarded in its progress by idle or dull boys; and every boy in every class is fully and profitably employed; and, by thus finding his own level, his improvement is most effectually promoted, and rendered a maximum. Conscious that his lot depends solely on himself, that he is the dispenser of his own honour or shame, the author of his own advancement or degradation, he recognises the justice, perceives the beauty, and feels the utility of those rules, by which his progress and improvement are best secured to the full measure of his application and capacity. So much for the general formation of a school,
Now more particularly of the Madras Asylum: "Sicut firmiores in literis profectus alit æmulatio: ita incipientibus atque adhuc teneris, condiscipulorum quam præceptoris, jucundior, hoc ipso quod facilior, imitatio est." -QUIN.
2d. Each Class is paired off into tutors and pupils. Thus in a class of twenty-four boys, the twelve bestand most trusty are tutors respectively to the twelve worst.. 3d. To each class is attached an assistant teacher,. whose sole business it is to attend his class, to prevent idleness, to instruct and help the tutors in learning their · lesson, and in teaching their pupils; and to hear the class, as soon as prepared, say their lesson, under ·
4th. The teacher, who has charge of the class, directs and guides his assistant, overlooks him in hearing the class, or himself hears both the assistant and scholars say their lesson, and is responsible for the order, behaviour, diligence, and improvement of the class.
5th. A sub-usher and usher (or rather a competent number of ushers) are appointed when necessary, to inspect the school, watch over the whole, and give their instructions and assistance wherever wanted, as the agents and ministers of
6th. The schoolmaster, whose province it is to direct and conduct the system in all its ramifications, and to see all the subordinate offices, duly carried into effect.
His perpetual employment is to overlook the whole school, and give life and motion to every member of it. He inspects the classes, one by one, and is occupied wherever there is most occasion for his services, and where they will best tell. He is to encourage the diffident, the timid, and the backward; to check and repress the forward and presumptuous: to bestow just and ample commendation upon the diligent, attentive and orderly, however dull their capacity, or slow their progress; to regulate the ambitious, rouse the slothful, and make the idle bestir themselves: in short, to deal out praiseand displeasure, encouragement and threatening, accord